2011 Review of Industry and Other Income (Category 3), and Joint Research Engagement (JRE) Scheme

Between July and November 2011, the department, with the assistance of a working group comprising membership from the higher education sector undertook a review of the Industry and Other Income (Category 3) component of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC). The review also examined the Joint Research Engagement (JRE) scheme.

The review examined the contribution of Category 3 income in supporting the policy intent of the research block grants, particularly as it related to the JRE. The review also considered the weightings of all elements of the JRE formula, to clarify the extent to which the current formula met the stated policy intent of encouraging end-user collaboration.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the review were:

  1. Compare and analyse the sources of income reported by higher education providers (HEPs) under Category 3 income over the period 2006 - 2010; including to inform a review of the JRE scheme;
  2. Examine the validity of the current Category 3 allowable items as an appropriate indication of research income in the HERDC;
  3. Consider the relevance of Category 3 income inputs to the policy intent of the research block grants, particularly in relation to the JRE scheme which is intended to support collaborative research activities between universities, industry and end-users by examining HEPs expenditure patterns of JRE funding;
  4. Consider the relevance and weighting of the various elements in the JRE formula, including student load; and
  5. Provide advice to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on outcomes from the review.

Review Process

The review was conducted by the department, with the assistance of a working group comprising representatives from the Australian higher education research sector.

In July 2011, the department released a consultation paper and sought submissions on a number of key questions regarding Category 3 income and the JRE scheme. The department also received detailed information from all 41 HEPs about their 2009 or 2010 Category 3 Research Income.

Outcome of the Review

Analysis of submissions indicated that the sector supported the current subcategories of Category 3 income without significant modifications.

The draft 2012 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Specifications take account of the Minister’s decisions regarding this review. This included the continued reporting of income from donations, bequests and foundations, and International A (competitive, peer-reviewed) research under Category 3.

While the review found significant support for the current elements and weightings within the JRE formula, in 2012 the department will further examine the research publications measure, and the feasibility of expanding the student load measure to capture domestic and international fee-paying students.


For more information, please email: RBGrants@innovation.gov.au with "2011 Review of HERDC Category 3 Income" as the subject line.